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The sports betting landscape in the United States and Canada has been constantly changing over the past few years. While some countries have long had rules and regulations to support the market and players, others do not – Canada being one of the latter. It wasn’t until August 2021 that Canada gave the go-ahead for single-game sports betting like the NFL, NBA, etc.

In June 2021, Canadian MPs took steps to expand sports betting in the country by approving C-218, a criminal code amendment bill that allows single-game betting. Provinces will be allowed to regulate sports betting the same way states do in the United States – on an individual basis. After the law took effect on August 27, many provincial lotteries began offering single-event CA sports betting products.

Passage of Bill C-218

Efforts to pass Bill C-218 in Canada are not new; it has been going on for many years. The issue was debated in Parliament in 2015 and subsequent years.

It can be argued that the legalization of sports betting in the United States was the catalyst for the legalization of sports betting in Canada. As in the United States, prominent sports leagues and other stakeholders who had previously opposed legalization have openly declared their support for bipartisan legislative initiatives in parliament.

Until June 23, 2021, no one knew if the bill would pass. In the end, he easily received the support of most Canadian senators. The count was 57-20 with 5 abstentions. A great day for sports betting.

Is sports betting popular in Canada?

Sports, in general, are prevalent in Canada; as mentioned above, hockey takes the crown when it comes to team sports that Canadians love to watch.

NFL games have been shown on Canadian television for decades. Most sports fans in Canada have a favorite NFL club and a favorite Canadian Football League (CFL) team. Many Canadians love NBA basketball, with the Toronto Raptors being clear fan favorites, especially after their 2019 NBA championship.

Canadians can and have bet for years, but it wasn’t until August 27, 2021 that single game betting was legalized.

It is essential to know that it was not illegal beforehand, but it was not regulated – which leaves a large gray area. Instead, Canadians could use foreign betting websites and European bookmakers to place bets. The Canadian government has estimated that in the years before gambling regulations, Canadians spent up to $10 billion on the black market.

In an effort to ensure that these black markets are curbed, it made sense to pass a bill that would allow Canada to have rules and regulations to protect both the sports betting industry itself and the players.

The legalization of sports betting also has a huge advantage, because this money can then be monitored and taxed. And you only need to look at some of the states that have legalized gambling and other forms of betting to see how much tax can increase general wealth.

What are the benefits of legalizing sports betting?

Legalizing sports betting is not only good for people who like to watch sports and bet, it’s also very good for the economy. On the one hand, sports betting creates hundreds, if not thousands of new jobs. And that goes for both online sports betting and land-based sports betting establishments.

What is exciting is that once sports betting is legalized in a country, usually each of the provinces or states can then decide to what extent they will participate in the offer.

There are several ways a state or province can implement sports betting. This includes betting legal online only, legal retail only, always without placing bets on a single game, or legal online and retail.

It is estimated that the entire Canadian sports betting market could bring in up to $25 billion a year in betting. In terms of taxation, this should be between 200 and 400 million in annual tax revenue, which is a considerable increase.

Before the legalization of sports betting, here are some rough statistics on the percentage of bets made by regulated online vendors and those that take place with unregulated operators.

 39% of Canadian sports betting takes place at land-based retailers
 3% of Canadian sports betting is done through regulated online providers
 57% of Canadian sports betting takes place online through unregulated operators

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) from regulated sports betting in Canada in 2019 was estimated at $242 million – which is a drop in the bucket compared to what they could earn now that it has been regulated. Canada was ready to make the most of the passage of Bill C-218. Over the next few years, we will see how the new legislation will impact gross gaming revenue in Canada.

Sally J. Minick